Is a Perfect Storm Heading Your Way?

OP-ED: Is a Perfect Storm Heading Your Way? by Judge Steven C. Teske

To read this article on the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange website, click here.

There are synonymous meanings to the phrase “perfect storm,” but the one that describes the current state of the war on zero tolerance school policies is “a phenomenon that happens to occur in such confluence, resulting in an event of unusual magnitude.” The war started many years ago when researchers began studying the effects of school suspensions and arrests, revealing the risk of kids dropping out of school, committing crimes, and inevitably landing in prison.

During the intervening years we have witnessed a phenomenal occurrence of independent initiatives attacking zero tolerance from varying approaches. This phenomena of occurrences got a boost from an unexpected source — medical science.

Research on the adolescent brain revealed that the pre-frontal lobe is not developed until age 25. This part of the brain is what we call the “Thinker” — it translates emotion into logic.